The Meth of Gun Control


No, that isn’t a typographical error in the headline of this article.  Let me explain.

A decade ago, methamphetamine use reached epidemic proportions in the United States.  As a former trainer of corporate investigations staff, which included pharmacy chains, I was intimately familiar with the methods used by drug manufacturers to procure their ingredients.  We worked with local, state, and federal law enforcement to detect, track, and report these incidents in order to assist them in making arrests and dismantling drug labs.  Pharmacy organizations took their own steps to reduce the theft of these products both to hinder the drug manufacturers and to reduce inventory losses.  Then the government decided to take action.

Laws were passed at both the state and federal level designed to further hinder the procurement of methamphetamine precursors, such as pseudoephedrine, most commonly known by the brand name, Sudafed.  Sudafed, and its various off-brand and generic cousins, is a very popular, and very effective, treatment used by both cold and allergy sufferers.  It works.  Now, when someone in my family is suffering with a cold or seasonal allergies, I have to produce a state-issued identification card to the pharmacy – Sudafed and all other medicines containing pseudoephedrine are now kept behind the counter – and have my personal information collected, stored, and tracked by the pharmacy.  In essence, I am a “registered” Sudafed user.  They follow this procedure in order to track people who may be purchasing “too much” of this common remedy.  Me, and several million other people in the United States, are now in a database of potential meth lab operators.  How does that make you feel?

Since I spent about twenty years dealing with criminals and criminal behavior, I feel pretty comfortable in stating that criminals don’t really care about your silly laws.  They will get their precursor chemicals either way.  They will simply find a way around your laws, or they will find a different chemical that serves the same purpose.

If you look at the statistics on meth use and arrests, you will see that not much has changed over the last decade.  There was an anomalous spike in those statistics around 2005 and that spurred the government to action.  This anomaly could actually be explained in many ways, statistically.  Remember, there are three kinds of lies: Lies, damn lies, and statistics.  Now, I am not refuting that statistical spike.  I’m just stating the fact.  Since that spike settled down the following year, the meth use and arrest statistics have remained essentially flat.  Meth lab busts between 2010 and 2014 nearly doubled.  The number of reported addicts has increased.  Again, if you look at carefully selected statistics, you will believe meth use has gone down.  That’s because the number of people who admit trying meth in the previous year has gone down.  But, the seizures of meth from people arrested nationwide has gone up.  Dramatically, according to the DEA, nearly doubling over the last five years – Tripled, between 2006 and 2014.

Why?  Because the government, as it almost always does, is concentrating on the wrong group of people.

The governments of the United States, local, state, and federal, imposed restrictions on the law-abiding allergy sufferers in order to address an issue with criminal elements of our society.  We were added to databases, tracked, and treated as criminals – without due process, mind you – because an unrelated group of people broke the law.  Oh, that group still breaks the law, that’s why they are called outlaws.  The only people affected in a meaningful way were the good people; the law-abiding citizens, people who just really wanted their noses to stop running and their sinus headaches to subside enough so they could continue going to work, make a living, and support their families.

So, what about guns?

The government, urged on by those who have little understanding of criminal behavior, follows the same set of asinine rules when dealing with firearms.  Following every major shooting incident or act of terrorism on U.S. soil – and no one, no one, is denying the tragedy involved – the government initiates a proposed series of restrictions, bans, and tracking systems against….  the people who aren’t breaking the law.  And, because most citizens are pretty passive when dealing with governmental authority, the majority of citizens will simply bite the bullet, so to speak, and accept the new restrictions on their behavior even though they have done nothing wrong.  Only a vocal minority, generally denigrated as “gun nuts” and “extremists” speak out against this imposition of restrictions on the exact group of people not responsible for the attack.

Despite the outrage, politicizing, and breast-beating, the FBI’s own statistical data shows that, overall, violent crime is on the decline in the United States.  Murders committed with a firearm are also on the decline.  The majority of all firearm murders are committed with a handgun, not a rifle, especially not a semi-auto sporting rifle that just happens to look like a military-issue firearm.  In fact, the number of people murdered in the United States with a rifle in 2015, a rifle in general, not even the inappropriately named assault rifle, was more than 100 victims fewer than the number of murders in Chicago alone – and almost all of those murders in Chicago were committed with handguns and knives.

Addressing a crime – especially a very specific crime such as the Orlando terrorist attack – by demonizing and restricting the people who didn’t commit it is both oppressive and ridiculous.  It has never worked in our history.  Ever.  But, they will continue to try.  Do you know why?  It’s because the people we send to Washington, DC, to represent us have not a single clue how to prevent crime or address criminal behavior.  We are sending the wrong people.

It also seems that most of our politicians and political activists don’t know what laws are already in place.  Repeatedly, politicians and gun control groups demand criminal background checks be performed for firearm purchases.  Apparently, they are unaware that almost all firearm purchases in the U.S. already follow that rule.  NICS is already a thing – a thing run by the FBI.  Another interesting fact is that it would be a challenge finding a law-abiding gun owner who is opposed to an instant criminal background check when purchasing a firearm.  We don’t want guns in the hands of criminals either.  It seems we are smarter about that desire than the people currently running our country, which should be a weird thing to say because We, The People, are supposed to be running this country, not a bunch of elitist idiots who don’t even know what a semi-auto rifle actually is.

So long as our government is armed and possesses the ability to oppress our people, which they have done many times in our past, our citizens shall remain armed.  That was the intention of our founding fathers and that is what our founding documents tell us.  Don’t be fooled by the emotional pleas of members of our law enforcement and military forces either.  Those pleas come directly from the organizations that possess the power to oppress.

When a current or former flag officer, like a Stanley McChrystal or a David Petraeus tells you we need to restrict our citizens’ access to modern firearms, you should take that as a threat, not a lawful suggestion.

Fight crime by addressing the criminal.  The Orlando attack was carried out by a man everyone suspected for years prior to this act of terrorism.  We can blame the deaths in Orlando on many things, not the least of which is the incompetence of local, state, and federal investigators.  Mostly, because they didn’t want to inappropriately accuse a poor, innocent muslim and incur the wrath of the Islamic political machine, you can blame the success of that attack on political correctness.  Political correctness may, someday, be the death of us all.


Ross Elder